Do you manage condo tree maintenance in Toronto or the GTA? Typically, this job falls to the property manager, and trees can often fall by the wayside in managing a building. Unlike more seasonal elements like flower planting or snow clearing, or building utilities, property managers may be inclined to feel like trees can take care of themselves.
That’s a mistake that’s easy to make. But it can be a costly one in many respects. Trees can contribute to your condo building’s curb appeal, heating costs, and liveability. Improper tree care can also contribute to building damage in some cases, irritated tenants in others, and expensive tree care or replanting bills in others.
What Is the Property Manager’s Role in Tree Care?
Condo property managers typically take care of trees under the category of building landscaping. Some landscaping work can easily be DIY’d by staff, like weeding, planting spring flowers, and mowing lawns. But tree care is a good one to outsource to professionals because of the complexity involved.
Arborists are trained in spotting tree issues, safely conducting tree pruning, and treating pest or fungal infestations. They’re also knowledgeable in planting and which tree may work best for a space. As a property manager, developing a good relationship with a local arborist company will help ensure knowledgeable ongoing tree care.
Condo Tree Maintenance
Regular pruning and monitoring of tree health is essential to maintaining condo trees. Condo trees can endure extra wear and tear if they’re in high traffic areas, if you have a lot of dog owners in your space, or your space is shared with busy street fronts.
Many condo trees are planted in tight spaces and property managers need to stay on top of pruning to ensure trees don’t become overgrown.
Sloppy pruning jobs can lead to chaotic growth patterns for trees that don’t result in optimal tree health. They can also damage healthy branches and weaken the tree. Aggressively pruning a tree and removing too many of its branches can kill a tree. This is why pruning is often best left to the professionals, especially on larger trees or when there are many trees to consider.
Pruning is considered part of regular maintenance in your building, and as such, shouldn’t need to be approved by boards or owners. It doesn’t constitute a major change or replacement. Pruning also helps keep issues like debris and falling leaves or twigs at bay, keeping residents happy.
Commercial Tree Care at Condos
What else do you need to know about commercial tree care as a condo property manager?
Having an arborist conduct regular pruning at your property ensures a professional will regularly take a look at your trees. This can be important preventative maintenance that can help your building spot issues like a developing pest or fungal infestation, disease, and damage or breakage that may not be visible at ground level.
Condo Tree Planting
Arborists also assist with planning and planting trees and hedges at condos. Choosing the right tree for the job is important at any site, but it’s especially important with the additional considerations at condominiums.
Proximity to the building needs to be carefully considered at condos, where there are frequently smaller available spaces for root growth. Light levels, tree species, potential for debris, and the necessary care for the species are all important considerations for condo buildings.
Planting trees that will quickly outgrow the available space, where roots may start to encroach on building foundations or pipes, can be a costly mistake in the following years. Similarly, planting trees that won’t thrive in the light levels around the building can mean throwing money down the drain and needing to remove and replace undergrown trees later.
Aesthetics and debris can be key considerations as well. Some higher-end buildings may choose specific species to stand out. If your planned planting is alongside patios, balconies, or decks and you know residents complain about falling leaves, fruit, or debris, don’t pick a species likely to leave sticky residue or rotting berries on top of residents’ patio furniture and barbecues. Keep your building’s residents in mind when planning planting.
Condo Tree Maintenance and Liability
Finally, we know that as a property manager you’re concerned about liability where your building’s common elements come into play. Keeping trees and hedges well-maintained is one of the best ways to ensure you’re covered in this instance. If a neglected tree injures a resident, pedestrian, or damages property, you’ll regret not keeping up with regular maintenance.
Showing records that your trees receive regular care and attention can help cover you in case of any damage from trees and discussions with your insurer.
If your condo faces damage to common elements from neighbouring properties, you should first report to your own insurer, but can also go after the neighbour for the cost of damages. To recover costs, you’ll need to prove negligence on the part of the neighbour. You can lay the groundwork for this by informing the neighbouring building of any necessary maintenance you spot, ideally in a trackable manner like email or registered letter.
Condo Tree Service
If your building still needs to build a relationship with an arborist for your ongoing tree care needs, or if your current tree service isn’t cutting it, give us a call at Vista Tree Management. We’re always looking to build ongoing relationships with Toronto condo buildings.